A wildlife photographer comes face-to-face with a great hammerhead shark and captures a once in a lifetime image, looking straight into the animal’s jaws.

The remarkable photograph – which shows a perspective that very few people ever desire to see– was captured underwater off the coast of Bimini in the Bahams.

Other images showed a man hand feeding a giant hammerhead and a diver manoeuvring one of the predators away from the camera by hand.

The incredible photos were captured by acclaimed underwater wildlife photographer Ken Kiefer II on a recent trip to the Caribbean island – one of the few spots in the world where great hammerheads are known to regularly frequent.

When asked if he was worried about swimming with the sharks, the 50-year-old photographer said:

‘Quite the opposite. We always look forward to any chance to share the water with these amazing endangered beauties.’

He went on to say that after this photo the dome of his Ikelite housing equipment needed to be replaced ‘due to some teeth marks on the lens’.

Hammerheads have 360-degree vision due to their eye placement, meaning they can’t see directly front of their head or directly under. ‘Sometimes they might run into divers while searching for the bait,’ he explained.

photo of inside a hammerhead sharks mouthImage – Ken Kiefer II/Media Drum World

Ken frequently dives with Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center, which he said is ‘the only place in the world to reliably and safely come inches from the largest of the hammer family, the Great Hammerhead’.

The 50-year-old continued:

We spend a lot of time in the water with sharks, but Great Hammers are without a doubt our favourite. Their incredibly huge dorsal fin, their musculature and unusual shape combine with their gracefulness to provide endless photo opportunities. They are more agile than most sharks and can turn on a dime.

I love the beauty of nature, and it’s always humbling to be in the water with any large predator. I feel much more calm and happy with sharks than any time I’m on the freeway with idiot drivers using their phones.

My wife Kimber and I spend a lot of time trying to spread the word about the importance of sharks in the world. As the apex predators in the ocean, they keep the balance and are critical to the ocean’s health.

SHARKKen Kiefer II/Media Drum WorlD

Ken, who has been capturing underwater images for more than 20 years, 10 of those professionally, says he loves creating images ‘to allow others to see the beauty of underwater’.

His motto is ‘anything underwater’, which Ken says can range from anything from predators, big animals, models, maternity, and a swim team – as long as it’s underwater.

He explained:

I also love being able to show people things that most won’t be able to see themselves.

I firmly believe that if more people could share the water with these predators, they would have a respect for them and not feel that they are just mindless beasts and might be a little more hesitant to label them as dangerous man-eaters.

great hammerhead sharks pictureKen Kiefer II/Media Drum World

Great hammerhead sharks are the largest of all hammerhead species and can grow up to 20ft in length and weigh over half a ton, although smaller sizes are more common.

Although hammerheads are aggressive hunters – mainly feeding on smaller fish, octopuses, squid, and crustaceans – they do not actively seek out human prey, attacks are extremely rare and only occur when provoked.

The animal’s wide-set eyes give them a better visual range than most other sharks and help to scan the ocean for food by spreading their highly specialised sensory organs over their wide, mallet-shaped head.

What incredible photos!